Living Unlayered Challenge

Don’t miss participating in the Living Unlayered Challenge! With 2022 around the corner, our annual theme at One Light Ahead is appropriately, “Living Unlayered.” To give you practical tools you need to slay those onions, we have initiated a 4-week challenge. This is an introductory offer as we launch our first groups, so there are limited spots available.

The Living Unlayered Challenge is a 4-week commitment (1 1/2 hours per week) designed to help you assess and improve the balance within your life and dive deep into the tools featured in April’s new book, Slaying the Onion

We will run two groups. They will both be the same, so just select whichever time works best with your schedule:

    • Tuesday Evenings: PST 4:00 – 5:30, MTN 5:00-6:30, CST 6:00-7:30, EST 7:00-8:30 PM
    • Wednesday Afternoons: PST 10:00-11:30 AM, MTN 11:00-12:30 PM, CST 12:00-1:30 PM, EST 1:00-2:30 PM
Take advantage of our very exclusive pilot price of just $350 (currently valued at $1500!)


To register, click here. Have any questions? Reach out to for more information.

Time to Slay Those Onions

People may appreciate having a balanced life that includes serving their family and their community through their gifts and skills. Achieving that balanced life is easier said than done. Business and life coach April Ballestero is often asked for a quick fix recipe for maintaining the momentum required to sustain that balance. “It should come as no surprise that there are no quick fixes,” April declares. “It requires consistency, self-discipline, and a willingness to take a good, hard look in the mirror.”

“Not only will you learn a refreshing, fun and comprehensive process of how to run a business, but you will fall in love with the author because of her authenticity and rawness; she is a true leader in the coaching industry.
~Becky Evans
Executive Leadership Coach

In Slaying the Onion, April dares readers to decide they are worth the investment, time, and challenge of removing layers so they can discover their unique recipe for reaching their ideal destination. And she encourages them to pursue community as a means of removing isolation as they begin the process of aligning themselves with others who also need and want support to discover their highest potential.

“With over 35 years of working with human behavior, I am always looking for fresh material where I can gain insights. I will admit, when I pick up most books, I scan them and find most are a “rehash” of previous thought, not new challenging content. As I read, Slaying The Onion, I found myself reading and discovering fresh thoughts that made me stop, think and ponder. April has done an excellent job of reaching from her journey to share with us steps that will release us from the prison we make ourselves a hostage to. You will find thought provoking ideas, a journey that will feed your spirit and open you to pondering new life altering information. Great job April!”

~Richard Flint, CSP
Author, The Truth About Stress

Grab Slaying the Onion for yourself or someone you care about: Available on Kindle, in paperback from Amazon or on our website here.

For Amazon purchases, please consider leaving the book a review. (Amazon will toss out any reviews that mention your personal relationship with April, so be sure to focus on the content of the book so that your review can be featured!)

Slaying the Onion Launch Party

You’re invited to come celebrate the launch of April’s new book, Slaying the Onion: Unveiling Your Layers to Reach Your Highest Potential!

Come visit us at the following locations:

Mustard Seed Christian Gift and Book Store

October 30, 2021           2:00-4:00 PM PST

17973 Bear Valley Road Ste 2 Hesperia, CA 92345

Roseville Chamber of Commerce

November 5 & 8, 2021    12:00-4:00 PM PST

650 Douglas Road Roseville, CA 95678  

Can’t make any of these events? No worries, you can get your Kindle or paperback version on Amazon today.

How to Address the Elephant in the Room at Your Next Business Meeting

Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room® with Coach April Ballestero. Join us as we interview guests about the ELEPHANT in the room. We talk about the hard things to talk about and shed light on difficult subjects including Diversity in the Workplace, Interracial Relationships, and many more important topics.

The Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room Podcast is available on all your favorite podcast players just visit


The dreaded “elephant in the room” – those conversations that should happen, but most of the time do not. Or, as explained by definition: “A major problem or controversial issue that is obviously present but avoided as a subject for discussion because it is more comfortable to do so.” There are many reason why these conversations to address the “elephant” never happen: Fear – that bringing it up could cost you credibility or your job or Comfort – that it’s easier to not make waves and just work around the problem ( 


How to Address the Elephant in the Room at Your Next Business Meeting

Is the “elephant in the room” eating up your meeting time and squashing your productivity? That enormous issue that everyone’s thinking about but no one wants to discuss can stand in the way of your ability to run smooth meetings. So how can you get him out of the meeting room to make room for an efficient exchange of ideas among everyone present?

In order to hold an efficient meeting, you need to have the right people in the room. But it’s not enough to assemble bodies in a space; everyone needs to be truly present in mind and spirit too. Sometimes even a minor distraction can disrupt the flow. For instance, a major storm is moving in, and employees are anxious to get home before it hits, or the local sports team is in the middle of a key playoff game.

In cases like this, the solution is usually as simple as acknowledging the distraction and addressing it. Performers understand this instinctively; in 1972, Canadian actor William Hutt famously announced the winning score of the Russia-Canada hockey series while he was onstage starring in Shakespeare’s King Lear (to great applause).

But what if the elephant in the room is a more aggressive beast? For example, your company is being taken over, or your department is amalgamating with another, and layoffs are feared. Or perhaps an employee has recently and suddenly been terminated and “walked out of the building” for reasons not known by staff.

All the experts agree that in the words of Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures “There is only one way to deal with your Elephants head on.” By facing the unspoken fears with as much clear, accurate information and reassurance as you’re able to under the circumstances, you can slow down the elephant’s charge.

In a 2013 Forbes article titled “How Leaders Can Address The Elephant(s) In The Room”, author George Bradt of PrimeGenesis suggests there are three types of problem pachyderms: Ignored: Once identified, these can be addressed right away or deferred. Imagined: These will simply disappear if you talk about them. Insistent: These are the ones that must be dealt with right away.

For those times when dealing with the elephant means more than just correcting inaccurate rumours, communications professor Rick Bommelje offers “5 Steps to Deal With the Elephant in the Room”: Name it Get ideas from team members Get agreement on the best solution Get buy-in Step forward together One type of situation that may need to be dealt with outside the meeting room is when the team has become dysfunctional, with factions or individuals who cannot work together. “If it’s tension between employees, it’s better to handle that off-line,” writes career coach Hallie Crawford in her 2015 article “How to Handle the Elephant in the Room During a Meeting” .

The elephant is one more reason to have solid, entrenched meeting rituals that encourage everyone to voice their opinions, a strong culture of teamwork building, and a system for handling conflict in the workplace.


“The more regularly you check for signs of elephants in your organization, the more likely they are to be discovered at an early stage,” write Pamela S. Harper and D. Scott Harper of Business Advancement Inc. in their article “How To Take Control of the ‘Elephant in the Room’”.


In fact, when a team is working well together, they can even make elephant-spotting a regular check-in moment at every meeting. It may add a few minutes to the agenda, but that’s a small trade-off for making sure everyone in the room is present and ready to participate in making every meeting a good one.

Has your meeting productivity ever been blocked by an elephant in the room? How did you deal with it? Thanks for reading don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.


The Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room Podcast is available on all your favorite podcast players, just visit:


Elephant In The Room

If there is an elephant in the room, it means that an obvious problem is being ignored. Put another way, it is a noticeable issue that is not acknowledged or addressed.


Jim arrived at work and his clothes were soaking wet! He was scheduled for a business meeting that was starting any moment, so not wanting to be late, he walked in and took a seat as if nothing were wrong. So his boss turned to him and asked: “Would you care to address the elephant in the room and tell us what happened?” An elephant in an office room.




Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room® is hosted by Coach April Ballestero with ONE LIGHT AHEAD and Produced by Eric Ballestero.

Article written by Eric Ballestero.

© Copyright ONE LIGHT AHEAD® 2021. All Rights Reserved.

SEASON ONE: Episode(s) 1-11

The Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room Podcast is available on all your favorite podcast players, visit

Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room® is hosted by Coach April Ballestero with ONE LIGHT AHEAD and Produced by Eric Ballestero.

Article written by Eric Ballestero.
© Copyright ONE LIGHT AHEAD® 2021. All Rights Reserved.

One Light Ahead Presents Our New Look

From Coach April Ballestero

If you have been following One Light Ahead over the years, you know that we just recently rebranded in 2015, but now it is 2020 and we are releasing our new brand, yet again. I want to take a few minutes to explain why and share the story of how.

Beginning this process, all I could think was “here we go, revising our brand, presence, and colors… again.” 

Why now, during this challenging year? Believe it or not, we chose to rebrand before the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrations, and financial constraints we are all facing now. We have been through a few different web developers and “branding” agencies in our attempt to find the right fit; so trying something new, we expanded our reach outside the country. 
Eric Ballestero, my son, and Operations Coordinator stumbled across a company called Canny Creative. He subscribed to their blog and soon reached out to Canny to explain the situation. He took the lead to guide us in this new venture to learn about the public image One Light Ahead was displaying and the image we wanted to represent. A few incredibly busy months of work later, and we now have a brand and a strategy that represents One Light Ahead more accurately. The branding we created aligns with our purpose and brings us into the modern era.
The brand strategy document Canny provided led us to look inward and discover who we wanted to serve, what we wanted to provide, and the pillars we wanted to build the foundation of One Light Ahead upon. Originally only serving real estate agents, One Light Ahead quickly opened the doors to serve a wide variety of industries. We continue to expand our services for entrepreneurs, executives, and influencers (leaders). We deliver one-to-one coaching, group coaching, team-development, keynote speaking, strategic consulting, and conflict management resources. We have adapted our previously offered programs into newly inspired courses. Currently, we offer a self-paced online course (All About YOU), and a hybrid group course complete with weekly live group sessions called the Masters League Competition™.

We proudly structure our programs from our brand pillars of partnership, commitment, and leadership with the motivation to light the way and provide guidance for every journey.

My primary goal in leading this organization has always been to transform self-awareness and decision making to the benefit of my clients. Leading by example, I now have my master’s degree, many certifications, and years of experience to enhance the experience of One Light Ahead’s community.
One Light Ahead’s team is full of different perspectives. So, to achieve a culture of consistent results, we needed to focus our energy on the brand and image of One Light Ahead.

Each part of our new brand brings together the whole concept.


One Light Ahead New Logo and Brand


The new logo represents an intentionally aligned integration of colors. Green representing our energy and slight tinting of blue to represent trust. The white is to represent our commitment to transparency. 
We brought bright colors and white text on a dark background to represent One Light Ahead as the guiding light in the darkness. As we launch our new website, our brand, and our renewed commitment, we continue to focus on creating light bulb moments and guidance for every journey.

We wanted to share how thankful we are for you and our ability to serve your transformation. We are in an environment where authenticity, energy, and trust are the highest priorities. It is our mission to provide customized partnership plans, positively impact, and improve our community. We light the way for business leaders to reach for the stars and shine at their highest potential. To inspire transformation.



Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room

Addressing the ELEPHANT in the Room with Coach April Ballestero. Join us as we talk and interview guests about the ELEPHANT in the room. We talk about the hard things to talk about and shed light on difficult subjects including Diversity in the Workplace, Interracial Relationships, and many more important topics.

Collective Experience for Leading Change

Shannon Plummer is speaker and musician of a non-profit, is leading by example. She reminded us that one person’s experience impacts a whole group which may impact each of our businesses moving forward. We have learned from the pandemic, the protests, and historical lessons, that our lives are constantly changing. As we face these changes, our individual choices will impact others and create a collective experience. Let us also determine what we want this experience to be now and lead the change together.

Pandemic lessons

Multiple businesses and individuals have been impacted by this pandemic. Each one may or may not have had a crisis management plan. Many developed the plan on the fly. The lesson learned is best exemplified by the people and businesses who are choosing to donate, serve, and align with others in overcoming the obstacles. The effect and impact are real and many are going to be spending years overcoming, yet as an individual working to impact the collective, finding what is my ability to assist is a much more powerful use of my time.

Protest lessons

Many cultures, races, and communities are in the midst of gatherings requesting reformation. We get the ability to use our platforms to remind people how to respond to the challenges of any protest. We, as individuals, and business leaders, get to either support or hold elected officials accountable, no matter their role, and create conversations for creating reforms for the collective experience as a whole, as a wise respected leader reminded me. The old idiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words” reminds us that even one picture we share has meaning and ability to impact the collective experience. Wise to determine what presence we are portraying in the simplest of concepts.

Historical lessons

Martin Luther King Jr. and many others created change to attempt to address the racist challenges of our country. These movements impact every one of our businesses. We get to lead the change for a movement to create leaders who are willing to ask the tough questions, guide diversity reform, and unite the collective experience of equality, respect, and agape love. Our business services and products can be driven by relationships honoring the lessons and creating history from our leadership.

Lead the Change

A collective experience, by our choice, to ask questions, lead growth, and increase our success as a whole is needed every day. Every individual and every business leader has a platform to choose how to lead this opportunity. It may be as simple as a lyric or statement, as Shannon Plummer started this conversation. It may be as intense as the messages Martin Luther King shared in his worldwide platform. It may be a simple blog as this woman business leader shares with you to call us all to collectively collaborate and cause collective change. Our relationships, services, and successes in honoring diversity, respecting each other, and validating the experience from all perspectives are just a few ways we may all lead the change.

Practical Software for Start-ups and Small Businesses

Easy Accounting Softwares For Startups And Small Businesses

A variety of affordable online accounting software has made it easier for small businesses to manage their finances. Accounting software allows business owners and accountants to collect all the financial information they need in a single system to track and monitor the financial health of their business. [Sources: 1, 17]

Whether or not you use the best accounting software for your small business depends heavily on what your business is and what it does. This means you should try different packages to help you choose the right accounting tool for you and your smaller accounting needs. A good account for small businesses allows you to manage the company’s finances and balance the books with the level of accounting you bring with you. [Sources: 0, 4, 17]

Xero is an intelligent accounting software tool aimed at small businesses with a focus on ease of use and mobile benefits. If you are a retailer or if your business accounts are straightforward, a number of users have chosen Xero as the best software for small businesses that they find easy to use. However, depending on your specific needs, it is your best smaller accounting software for you. [Sources: 13, 14, 17]

Small businesses are looking for a complete and user-friendly accounting solution. QuickBooks Online accounting software has a number of features that appeal to small businesses and small business owners, with an emphasis on ease of use and mobile benefits. It is the best – for anyone who just needs a simple, simple – accounting tool for their business accounts. For the small business owner who needs everything streamlined, Quickbooks offers the best services and features with the most advanced features. [Sources: 0, 7, 16, 19]

If you are a small business owner who is in the market for something very simple and doesn’t want to pay for an accounting app, you can put all your business’s accounting data together in one place and put it together on your mobile device. If there is a part of the company that can generate and use data, it can benefit from the accounting software for small businesses. Simply put, if this area is not your strong suit or you don’t like the idea of working with an accountant who directly oversees corporate finances, just use a software solution like QuickBooks and do what you want. [Sources: 0, 8, 10]

As you can see, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, and Xero are by far the most popular accounting software for small businesses and startups. In our Small Business Tools Overview, we recommend you read our list of the most user-friendly accounting tools for start-ups and smaller businesses. Freshbooks is a well-known organization that provides comprehensive cloud-based accounting software specifically targeted at start-ups or small businesses. ZipBooks is the solution for all small business owners, including freelancers, consultants, and sole traders who are familiar with the accounting process. [Sources: 2, 5, 9, 12]

In addition to QuickBooks, Hyland points to other commonly used accounting software for start-ups and small businesses. Quicken allows you to manage your personal and business finances in one place, making it a great choice for home-based entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t need the same level of control over their finances as accounting software designed for larger, more established companies like Xero. Listed up 4 out of 20 times, this is an online small business accounting software that allows users to create and send invoices, manage inventory, and more. The free account also allows for automated workflow for up to 5 customers, making it ideal for smaller businesses that are not willing to shell out a monthly subscription fee. [Sources: 3, 5, 11, 14]

For truly small businesses and startups, Zoho Books offers a variety of tools to track your growth. In such a dynamic industry, it is especially important to be able to deploy accounting software for your small business, especially if you are using it as part of a larger, more established business such as a law firm, auditing firm, or consulting firm. [Sources: 7, 18]

Small businesses are looking for a fully functional accounting solution that is relatively easy to use, and their accounting software should be tailored to your needs. We have listed some other solutions for your business that might fit here, as well as some options for small businesses that want to play their game with a more advanced accounting system. [Sources: 0, 7]

Startups and very small businesses can get away with using free accounting software, but it will be limited in functionality. Accounting software for small businesses that are not in the cloud will take a lot of time and effort and therefore will not add value to the business. For this reason, small businesses must look for cloud-based accounting software, otherwise, data collection and processing can be tedious. [Sources: 6, 20]

For this reason, we have created a list of simple accounting software for start-ups and small businesses in the world of accounting. [Sources: 15]

On a personal note, I would start with FreshBooks, Quickbooks, or Xero. They are the programs listed in the article that will integrate with the most business software that we will be covering in future posts. Note: If you use Stripe (which I will recommend later in this series) Freshbooks is your best option. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions you can post a comment here or email me:

Written by Eric Ballestero























Beginning Tough Conversations

Ever felt that moment when it seems no one realizes there is a large elephant in the room? There is a known challenge that is unspoken and no one has been brave enough to address it. This is the norm in many teams, businesses, and organizations. This is also a very worthy subject of discussion.

Three major items get addressed when you are ready to have these discussions: conflict resolution, team development, and aligning agendas. Of course, perspectives, processes, and personalities also need to be filtered in each discussion. Let’s take a helicopter view of a few suggestions to plant some seeds and open the discussion up.

Choosing personal and professional responsibility to address the elephant in the room requires the decision to be seeking resolutions. It also requires the time to hear all the perspectives. The depth of any elephant also includes discussing the underlying issues surrounding any opportunities for fresh perspectives. Conflict resolution is a choice for someone to start a difficult conversation to develop all those around them.

Examples of this intense conversation could be in response to something as simple as a team member always showing up late to the team meeting, to a team member that is stealing products or ideas from another team member, or to a deeper more sensitive subject matter such as a team member bullying another team member.

All of these and so many more are real items that happen every day in a community. Who takes responsibility to start the conversation?

Team Development has so many perspectives, processes, and personalities to consider in a resolution process. In order to align everyone’s agendas, an overarching agenda ideally creates a foundation for domino discussions. An example is someone that constantly shows up late for a meeting. Ideally, the supervisor of this individual would bring the elephant to the person and the team as an overarching subject and policy. Next, the team has an opportunity to decide if any allowable adjustments may be made to a policy all had supposedly agreed to. This is also an opportunity to make helpful updates and conversations for the team policy. One team member may ask, “What makes one team member more important than others?”, where another team member may ask, “Why does it matter if one team member is constantly late?”. The supervisor then gets the opportunity to take all perspectives back to the overarching team agendas, policies, and processes to determine the next steps for addressing the elephant and a possible resolution. This is a very simple example; many larger elephants and tougher conversations may be necessary.

As we discover one seed or elephant at a time, there are opportunities for all leaders, teams, businesses, and organizations to be willing to look in the mirror, to ask tough questions, truly hear all perspectives, develop processes to address these conversations, and lead the change. The elephants are ripe for discussion and we get to choose to be brave enough to align our agendas on what really matters for all.
[One Light Ahead on for California] [BBB for East Tennessee]

(originally published to for Sacramento Better Business Bureau® on September 28th, 2020)